While over 135 riders started, the race itself was a chase from start to finish between a veteran and young lion.
"Levi was riding really good and it sure made me have to ride really hard," said Dennis Belingheri after scoring a hard-fought victory. "I had some problems on the first lap as I crashed on the start so I started way in the back and knew I had to push and push it."
As usual, the Expert line started first followed by the Amateur and Novice riders. Up front, Levi Hutchings took the point at the very first corner and was off and running while the pack ate his dust.
As the leaders completed the 51-mile long first loop, Hutchings had a 52-second lead over Belingheri, who managed to overcome his bad start and was on a charge.
After a quick pit stop, both riders were on their way and tore into the second loop, a 45-mile one that had several technical sections.
When asked if he was aware of anyone catching him, Hutchings said no, although he did see someone way behind him.
As they passed the halfway checkpoint, Belingheri had pulled within 100 yards of the fleeing Hutchings and soon closed the gap.
"I felt Dennis there when we headed up the ridge and into the snow," Hutchings said.
Up to then, Belingheri didn't know if he could pull off the victory or not.
"The stuff I thought I was going to catch him on, he still had the lead and I felt like I was never going to catch him," he said.
Finally his chance to make the pass arrived.
"We were coming down a wash and I was right behind him. The wash turned, I kind of went wide and caught the trail in front of him," Belingheri said, "Luckily I got to the dusty road before he did or it would be the other way around right now."
Hutchings did mention the dust and being tired but he still finished only about seven seconds behind Belingheri. After the finish, both congratulated each other on a good race.
Asked who he needed to thank, Belingheri mentioned his wife, family, Reno Motorsports, Dirt Tricks, Rimbenders and Mike Hammel for his pit work.
Asked about the course he added, "It was rough, a lot of chop going out, coming in and in the middle. But like Josh Wilson said, 'it's not getting rougher, I'm getting older.'"
For his part Hutchings thanked his wife, parents, West World Industries, FMF, Fine Line Suspensions and 5th Gear Power Sports.
And for him, the most challenging part of the course was the whoops.
After the Expert line starts there is a time delay of a couple of minutes before the Amateurs are launched. Despite this apparent time disadvantage Ricky Dahlberg was on the move, won the amateur division by finishing 31st overall and beat his brother Taylor.
Once he caught his breath Dahlberg said, "The race was pretty good but the first lap wore me out a little bit but the second lap was mostly sand whoops and I got a lot of energy through them. And I was able to make a bunch of passes and get back up there. There's a pretty gnarly downhill over there and that was the most challenging for me but once I got through that everything was good from there."
He, like a lot of riders, had some problems with the dust on the first lap. Then he thanked his parents, Jamie at Tech One Designs, AXO and the Spelts family.
Coming in 50th overall was UNR student Dakota Jameson, who hails from Las Vegas. This was his first race with MRANN and he seemed to enjoy it.
Further back in the pack of finishers was 14-year-old Mason Stone riding in his first big bike race. His efforts were successful as the Spanish Springs rider was the first novice to finish both loops.
"I really liked the race, it was a lot of fun but there's a lot of sand whoops and they were killing me," he said.
Stone added the most challenging part for him was some of the down hill sections. As for the dust when catching a rider he said, "I'd just get in the bushes and get around the dust."
He ended by thanking his parents and cousin Jake.
Defending Saturday Women's champion Chrystal Ponsock had a great weekend. On Saturday she won the V Women's class and was first overall in the mini bike race.
Then on Sunday she decided to challenge the long course but started in the Novice line. After a short battle with another woman, who is an amateur, Ponsock took over and raced to her second victory of the weekend claiming 58th overall place.
At the finish line she was happy but exhausted.
"I checked out in the sand wash," she said. "It will be hit and miss on Sundays but I did enjoy the second loop. I rode two days so got a little bit beat up in the sand whoops."
Over the two days, no one was seriously hurt and the medics had a pretty uneventful weekend.
MRANN's next event will be on March 9-10. The race in this area will be when SMRA begins its motocross season at the Sand Box in Fernley on March 3rd.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•The motocross community here has rallied to help the parents of Gavin Clouser, who was seriously hurt in a crash at Exit 28 on February 9. The funds raised at this weekend's practice sessions were donated to his family.
As for Clouser, the 14-year-old still faces a long stay at the Renown Medical Center. On Thursday evening his mother said he is getting more feeling and, at his request, is being put in a wheel chair several times a day.
While visitors are welcome they need to first check with ICU unit first as he needs blocks of time to rest.
During Saturday's practice, another 14-year-old, Jaron Thompson from Spanish Springs crashed and was transported to Renown. He suffered several broken bones and his father Mike reported the surgery that was needed went well so a full recovery is expected.
MRANN Desert Series - Round One
15th Annual Sahwave Hare and Hound - Nightingale, NV
•Sunday, Feb. 17
Big Bike results - 1. Dennis Belingheri, 40+ Exp., 2. Levi Hutchings, 250 Exp, 3. Don Capparelli, 4-Stroke Exp., 4. Stephen Tichenor, Open Exp., 5. Dakota Jamison, 250 Exp., 6. Dakota Jamison, 250 Exp., 7. Tanner Tremaine, Open Exp., 8. Kyle Townsend, Open Exp., 9. Steve Garnett, 30+ Exp., 10. Adam Thissen, Open Exp., 11. C.J. Crandell, 250 Exp., 12, Juston Miller, 30+ Exp., 13. Willy Heiss, 30+ Exp., 14. Steve Alcoutte, 30+ Exp., 15. Jake Osborn, 4-Stk Exp., 16. Shane Bell, 30+ Exp., 17. Danny Melvin, 200 Exp., 18. Chris Maas, 200 Exp., 19. Je Hanes, 200 Exp., 20 Justin Tiearney, 30+ Exp., 21. Robert Nelson, 30+ Exp., 22. Randy Adams 40+ Exp., 23. Cory Vannoy, 4-Stk Exp., 24. Justin Legenbauer, 30+ Exp., 25. Robert McAdam, Open Exp., 26. Steve Walkiewicz, 30+ Exp., 27. Ryan Hamel, 250 Exp., 28. Paul Ziegler, 200 Exp., 29. Marcus Loll, 4-Stk Exp., 30 Bobby Kramer, 250 Exp., 31. Ricky Dahlberg, 200 Ama., 41. Mason Stone, 125 Nov., 58. Chrystal Ponsock, Nov. Women
•Saturday, Feb. 16
Pee Wees - 1. Jesse White, 65 Nov., 2. Lawson Williams, 7 & Over, 3. Carley Legenbauer, 65 Nov., 4. Ryder Schwartz, 65 Nov., 5. Camie Ingram, 7 & Older, 6. Tristan Modrice, 7 & Older, 7. Ty Milligan, 50cc, 7 & Older, 8. Austin Hough, 50cc 6 & Under, 9. Ryder Thomoselli, 50cc 6 & Under, 10. Landen Williams, 50cc 6 & Under. Mini, V Women, Bombers - 1. Chrystal Ponsock, Wom. Exp. 2. Austin Serpa, 100 Exp., 3. Mason Stone, 100 Exp., 4. Gary Moore, Bomber, 5. Jonas Thissen, 100 Am., 6. Devyrn Muhlenberg, Wom. Nov., 7. Janeen Rigsby, Wom. Am., 8. Tyler Bogan, 100 Am., 9. Mackinze Dungley, Wom. Am., 10. Dallas Serpa, 100 Am.